299 F.Supp. 843 (E.D.Ark. 1969), LR-68-C-151, Graves v. Board of Ed. of North Little Rock, Arkansas, School Dist.

Docket Nº:LR-68-C-151.
Citation:299 F.Supp. 843
Party Name:Carnell GRAVES, Richard J. Graves, Vickie Ann Graves, Meredith D. Graves, Debra M. Graves, and Kevin R. Graves, minors, by their father and next friend, Floyd Graves, Plaintiffs, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF the NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, SCHOOL DISTRICT, a public body corporate, and F. B. Wright, Superintendent of Schools of the North Little Rock Sc
Case Date:April 29, 1969
Court:United States District Courts, 8th Circuit, Eastern District of Arkansas
 
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Page 843

299 F.Supp. 843 (E.D.Ark. 1969)

Carnell GRAVES, Richard J. Graves, Vickie Ann Graves, Meredith D. Graves, Debra M. Graves, and Kevin R. Graves, minors, by their father and next friend, Floyd Graves, Plaintiffs,

v.

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF the NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, SCHOOL DISTRICT, a public body corporate, and F. B. Wright, Superintendent of Schools of the North Little Rock School District, Defendants.

No. LR-68-C-151.

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division.

April 29, 1969

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John W. Walker, Little Rock, Ark., for plaintiffs.

Robert V. Light, Little Rock, Ark., for defendants.

Memorandum Opinion

HENLEY, Chief Judge.

This desegregation case involves the public schools of the City of North Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. The plaintiffs are Negro school patrons of the District. The defendants are the Board of Education of the District and the Superintendent of Schools. In answer to plaintiffs' complaint the District has come forward with a desegregation plan based in part on attendance zoning and in part on freedom of choice. The plaintiffs challenge the sufficiency of the plan to discharge the District's obligation to disestablish its existing system of racially identifiable schools. Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430, 88 S.Ct. 1689, 20 L.Ed.2d 716; Raney v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 443, 88 S.Ct. 1697, 20 L.Ed.2d 727; Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, 391 U.S. 450, 88 S.Ct. 1700, 20 L.Ed.2d 733; Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 75 S.Ct. 753, 99 L.Ed. 1083, and347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873, 38 A.L.R.2d 1180; Cato v. Parham, 8 Cir., 403 F.2d 12, aff'g Cato v. Parham, E.D.Ark., 293 F.Supp. 1375. While the District's plan

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has been approved by the Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education & Welfare, that is not dispositive of the matter; it is the function of the Court to determine whether the plan complies with constitutional standards. Kelley v. Altheimer, Ark. Public School District, 8 Cir., 378 F.2d 483; Kemp v. Beasley, 8 Cir.,352 F.2d 14.

The cause has been tried to the Court. It has been submitted on documentary material supplemented by the testimony of Assistant Superintendent of Schools, George Miller, who will become Superintendent on July 1, 1969, and it has been briefed by counsel. This memorandum incorporates the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

By way of introduction the Court will say that consideration must be given not only to the component parts of the plan but also to the plan as a whole; and the evaluation of the plan must be in the light of ruling constitutional principles, the situation in North Little Rock, and the desegregation history of the District down to this time.

North Little Rock is a city of more than 60,000 people. It is located on the north bank of the Arkansas River directly across the stream from the City of Little Rock. The parties are in agreement that the desegregation problem in one of the two cities does not differ in principle from that which exists in the other. 1

Both cities are part of the same metropolitan area and both have substantial Negro minorities. Residential housing in both cities is in general segregated. Schools in both cities have been constructed in accordance with the 'neighborhood school' concept under which schools are located near the homes of children to be served. In recent years in both cities a migration of the white population, particularly the more affluent, has been clearly discernible. In Little Rock the migration has been in a westerly direction into and beyond the fashionable Rulaski Heights area. In North Little Rock the movement has been to the north and into the picturesque Lakewood and Indian Hills area. The Court thinks that as far as migration shifts are concerned there is perhaps one difference between Little Rock and North Little Rock to be observed. In Little Rock the westward movement of whites has been followed by a westward movement of Negroes who have acquired residences formerly occupied by white people. It does not appear that there has been a corresponding northward migration of Negroes in North Little Rock. Practically all of the North Little Rock Negroes along with many whites reside in the southern part of the city, and there are probably no Negroes in the Lakewood and Indian Hills areas.

Prior to the Brown decisions in 1954 and 1955, the District, like all other school districts in Arkansas having a racially mixed population, was required to maintain separate schools for Negro students and for white students. In accordance with the neighborhood school concept white schools were built in white neighborhoods and Negro schools were built in Negro neighborhoods. The white schools had white principals and teachers, and the Negro schools had Negro principals and trachers. In the defendant District the Superintendent of Schools and members of the administrative staff of the District have always been and still are white people. While as will be seen, the original all white school system of the District has been desegregated to some extent, the original Negro school system has not been desegregated at all as far as student bodies are concerned. For convenience the Court throughout this memorandum will refer to the formerly all white

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schools as simply 'the white schools,' and to the still all Negro schools as 'the Negro schools.'

The present white school system consists of North Little Rock High School, Fourth Street Junior High School, Jefferson Davis Junior High School, Ridgeroad Junior High School, and 21 elementary schools named after their geographical locations or white individuals. Three of the elementary schools have been built quite recently; they are located in the northern part of the City, and their sites were located by the Board in consultation with housing developers.

The Negro school system consists of the Scipio A. Jones School, which is a combination junior-senior high school serving students in grades 7-12, and the Carver, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Woodson Elementary Schools. With the exception of the Woodson Elementary School, the Negro schools have been named after Presidents and individuals noted for their interest in Negro aspirations. 2

Negroes make up 22 percent of the District's elementary and high school students and 23 percent of the junior high school students. The present enrollment of the District's schools is 12,879 students; 9,990 of the students are white; 2,889 of them are Negroes.

The District's faculty consists of 577 persons. Four hundred thirty-five or 75 percent of the faculty members are white, and 142 or 25 percent are Negroes. 3 Custodial employees at all schools of the District are Negroes.

Actual desegregation of the Little Rock public schools began in 1957, but no effort was made to desegregate the North Little Rock schools until the opening of school in 1964, some ten years after Brown I was decided. In September 1964 eight Negro children were admitted to two of the...

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